La chatte à deux têtes

Director-actor Jacques Nolot is best known here as the suave lover in François Ozon’s Under the Sand. But he has a second career as director of very personal, transgressive films. His follow-up to 1998’s L’Arriere pays is set in a Parisian porn cinema, where the film alluded to in the title (literally, The Pussy with Two Heads) is showing. The cinema plays heterosexual porn, but the clientele is surprisingly diverse: office and blue collar workers, gay and supposedly straight, and a colourful scattering of transvestites, on the prowl for the nearest convenient erection. Nolot himself plays a veteran regular, who enjoys the occasional encounter but is more inclined to sit observing the action, scribbling the odd pensee in his notebook, and now and then reminiscing and philosophising with the middle-aged Italian woman (Vittoria Scognamiglio) who works the cash desk. At once outrageous and tenderly philosophical, Nolot’s film is a requiem for a certain sexual underground, and a disquisition on the thinking, feeling lover’s place in the hardcore world. Explicit as it is, this is a subtle, elegant and often very funny film; look out for the hirsute, chunky lad who transforms, thanks to a cheap wig and a fan, into a Spanish-style femme fatale.
France, 2002. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby stereo SR. 90 mins.

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